I want to preface this by proclaiming that I have not been paid or influenced to write this blog post at all. I’m just very passionate about this right now!
Just today I returned home from a nine-day trip with my husband to the French Riviera. For this trip I paid for: 4 meals, bus driver tips, local guide tips, and tour leader tips. In total, we paid less than 350€ to visit some of the most beautiful places in Europe.
And there’s only one reason for this: EF rewards teacher travelers.
I led my first tour in 2015 to England, France, and Italy. My second was two years later, to Scotland and Ireland. The most recent was June 2019 to various parts of Italy. For all of these trips I paid for lunches and tips only, and I got to bring a free adult for every 6 student travelers.
Here are some of the main reasons to travel for EF rather than other companies (and remember, I’m not being paid or coerced to write this. I’m just very enthusiastic!)
This has been said and seems the most obvious. However, you may not know that EF sends tour leaders on a free training tour before they even lead a tour. Furthermore, you rack up reward points for each student traveler, which you can redeem later for free personal travel (with adults!). I just went on one of these trips and had enough points after three student tours to pay for myself and my husband, with some still left over. On this trip, EF leaders were abundantly enthusiastic with their gratitude and praise, rewarding us with gifts of wine and local treats, as well as free refills on local wine! Bottom line: EF wants their leaders to feel and be experienced, and they are grateful for return travelers.
This is a big factor in convincing parents to let minors travel. Compared to other companies, EF has the most reassuring and long-standing presence in countries around the world for student travelers. Their travel insurance covers all scenarios (which trust me, I’ve used several!), and they have offices in so many locations. This means that if you encounter a safety issue on tour, you have a far better likelihood of having an EF representative there in person faster than any other company.
While there are several lucky tour leaders who get to travel all over Europe full time (I’ll get to them later), there are hundreds more working out of offices in Boston, Canada, Zurich, and many other smaller offices. These people are kind and patient. They’ve been willing to answer any question I pose to them and talked me through a particularly disastrous flight cancelation back in 2015. What I love best about these EF agents is the human factor. If a a family issue comes up or there’s a safety issue abroad, they are the ones working on the phone for a refund or adjusting itineraries at no extra cost. Honestly, these folks are miracle workers.
Trustworthy and Well-Trained Tour Leaders
One thing people might not know is that each EF tour comes with a personal tour leader, extensively trained in student travel. Each tour leader is personable, courteous, instructional, and downright fun. Furthermore, some of them have been with the company with for over twenty years, which I think says more than anything I could say about them.
If you have a desire to take your students abroad (or even domestically) but don’t want to plan the itinerary or pay much out of pocket then EF is definitely the answer for you. Click here to learn more about leading your next tour!